Recently we heard the 'Avengers 3' rumor that the final movie of the current Marvel Cinematic Universe may be split into two films. The word was that that was unlikely to happen, because of expiring contracts for actors like Robert Downey, Jr. and Chris Evans that would be too costly to renew. It looks that Marvel may have found a clever way around that plan though: a completely different superhero lineup for 'Avengers 3'.

Badass Digest is reporting that Marvel isn't going to split 'Avengers 3' into two movies, but they are going to use 'Avengers 3' to "springboard" into another major superhero movie. Not just that, but that the primary Avengers lineup would skip 'Avengers 3' so that Marvel could use them for this mystery movie. Let's take a step back and examine this...

We've heard some rumors for a while that the end of 'Avengers 2' could see some members of the team going in different directions. They sorta have to, in some regard, as both Captain America and Thor have important business to attend to in their own worlds and Tony Stark is very much trying to be retired (this is very much part of the 'Avengers 2' plot). But, what if while they were out tending to said business, the B-level Avengers came together for 'Avengers 3' in an effort to preserve the six-film contracts of Downey, Evans and Hemsworth? This could leave you with a Hulk, Black Widow, Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel and Star-Lord type lineup for 'Avengers 3'.

But, what idea/movie would be some important, so BIG, that Marvel would keep its A-listers out of 'Avengers 3'? How about 'Marvel's Infinity Gauntlet'.

Now, this is all rampant speculation (one echoed by that Badass Digest piece), but what if 'Avengers 3' really isn't the end of the Marvel Cinematic Universe? What if that's not the movie that introduces Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet, but instead is setting all that up for a massive crossover event? An event that would bring together every single Marvel Studios character, big and small, to stop Thanos. The Avengers, plus the Guardians, plus Doctor Strange and Loki and Vision and etc. It's an extremely clever way to expand the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the realistic state of the current actor's contracts. And, honestly, it gives them a lot more time to set up Thanos and his infinity stones instead of trying to cram that all into 'Avengers 3'. It would also still allow for 'Avengers 3' to be released on May 4, 2018 and the 'Infinity Gauntlet' movie on May 3, 2019. (It also sort of explains why they're looking to get a big star for 'Doctor Strange' - they may need a major new actor to anchor 'Avengers 3'.)

Again, some of this is pure speculation. All we really know based on the Badass report is that 'Avengers 3' won't feature the traditional lineup and is going to lead directly into another major Marvel movie. The rest just sort of...makes sense. In fact, it makes so much sense, we'd be surprised if it weren't true.

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